How effective will the injunction obtained by National Highways against the M25 “Insulate Britain” protestors be?
It is seen as necessary because the criminal law alone is fairly toothless against such protestors.
On the face of it, S.137 of the Highways Act 1980 should be sufficient. This is what it says:
137.— Penalty for wilful obstruction.
(1)If a person, without lawful authority or excuse, in any way wilfully obstructs the free passage along a highway he is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.
Protestors can be arrested and prosecuted for “obstructing the highway.” That is helpful for police, but the maximum punishment available is a paltry £1,000, and in practice very few protestors are likely to be fined anything like that amount.
The punishment might be trivial, but at least the law seems very simple.
There is a complication. The offence is committed only when a person obstructs the highway “without lawful authority or excuse.” Continue reading “Insulate Britain protestors: this injunction will solve nothing. For once a crackdown might be justified.”